I didn’t get to see as much of yesterday’s fare as I would have hoped. I was flying solo with a 6 month old whilst my good wife took care of procurement duties downtown. I did however manage to engineer nap time to coincide with the second half of the Holland v Denmark clash and from what I witnessed it seemed the notoriously inconsistent Dutch side were treading on familiar ground.
Pre-tournament cards were well and truly marked orange in favor of this Dutch team by all of our glorious pundits, but the performance left me a little nonplussed. There’s a cheap and nasty lager beer that is the preferred tipple of many an Irish town drunk called Dutch Gold. It’s the kind of beer that tastes like it’s an imitation of a very noteworthy Dutch beer but leaves you feeling a bit ropey by the end of the day. That was kind of what this Dutch team delivered. Yes, there were sparks of genius from Snjeider and Van Persie looked lively, but this all came after a breakthrough from one of the most calamitous own goals you are likely to witness. It seems a confidence problem permeates the Robben-less Dutch outfit and a team more talented than Denmark is destined to end the orange odyssey prematurely.
The other game last night saw “Team Keogh-alini” do a very good impression of an Italian national team against a stubborn and dogged Paraguayan team that made them fight tooth and nail for a well deserved point. Nothing strange in an Italian slow start and no complaints for giving me a chance to invoke World Cup cliche #3: “They only start playing when the knockout stage begins”.
On an overall note, this tournament has so far played out as expected. Opening salvos have been cautious, the fear of losing being more evident than the blood lust one always hopes for. I have high hopes for this afternoon’s Portugal v Ivory Coast game. The Irish Times‘ World Cup magazine runs a very optimistic eye over Ivory Coast and all but dismisses Portugal from this group. I feel Ronaldo may have other ideas and for all his ego and narcissism, I do feel he is a big game player and that he has something to prove internationally on the same stage as Lionel Messi and Wayne Rooney.
And finally, the best quote of the competition comes courtesy of my German-fancying wife.
Wife: “The American number 3 is cute, who’s he?”
DK: “Carlos Bocanegra, he’s left back”
Wife: “Mmmm.. They can leave him back here anytime they like…”
(photo Getty Images)